Day 1, Bikaner and around
After resting for a couple of hours we got ready to go out. The plan was to visit the Karni Mata Temple, around 30 km from Bikaner and then come back and visit Jain Temples, before dinner.
However, first, we needed to get some petrol, since the fuel tank was nearly empty. The first place Google Aunty lead us to was hardly a couple of hundred meters from our hotel. However, there were no petrol pumps there.
We finally set the navigation to petrol pump at Ambedkar Square, and thankfully, this time around, there were actual petrol pumps there!
Fuel rates here were more than what they were in Delhi and Jaipur, Rs. 77.48 to be precise and the little Alto drank up almost 32.3 liters of it i.e. there was barely 2 and a half liter fuel left in the tank.
After the fuel stop, it was time to head to Karni Mata Temple and en route, the sunset occurred.
After driving for a few kilometers we reached a railway crossing, just ahead of it was another railway crossing, with a road in the middle heading towards left and another beyond it.
While waiting at the crossing, a couple of guys on a motorcycle scratched the Alto’s bumper in a bid to get ahead and cross the closed railway crossing. We assumed they were just late for their weekly mental checkup and hence we didn’t mind much and continued with the wait.
Finally, the train came and went. Then the gates were opened and we took the left road. Which lead us to directly under the highway we were supposed to take as per Google Aunty. Only there was no way to actually join the highway!
So we came back to the crossing and this time crossed the second set of tracks and continued with the alternate route which eventually lead us to a broken and desolate road. By this time our faith in Google Aunty had diminished quite a bit and that route didn’t look safe to be taken at that time.
So we turned back and headed back to Bikaner.
I was in the mood to just find a place to have dinner and rest. Mansi, on the other hand, wanted to see the Jain Temples.
So once again, we fired up Google Aunty and she took us to the heart of Bikaner, the old Bikaner.
By now, we were beginning to see a pattern. No one moved out of the way, no matter how much you honked (be it vehicles, pedestrians or animals) and no one braked either to allow you to pass.
To top it all, the road we were now driving on was just about wide enough for the alto to pass through. Yet, auto drivers would come up in front, expecting us to shrink in size in order to let them pass. And even though they could just back off 50 ft or at times even less to give us and them an opportunity to pass, they didn’t. All the while, motorcycles, cycles and people were just going from the left and right. Not even giving us an opportunity to maneuver the car!
At one point we ended up in a situation where the hood of the alto was directly under the neck of a bull! Motorcycles and people were continuously crossing between the idiotic autowallah and our car. At that moment we actually had to decide, who did we want to hit, rather than whom to save!
Thankfully though, after a lot of honking and arguing, the autowallah finally gave us enough space to turn the car from under the neck of the bull, who thankfully hadn’t yet charged or gotten further in our way!
After passing that mess, we came across the Jain Temples. They looked fine from the outside, but certainly not worth the mess that we had just gone through. And we didn't want to park the car on the narrow road. So we didn't go inside.
Now all we wanted to do at that point was to get on to the main road. Nothing else mattered and thanks to a kind soul who guided us, we were able to do just that!
Then we tried to drive to Bhikharam Chandmal Bhujiawala, a place Bhuwan sir had recommended to us for Bhujia and Gond Pak. After driving through the main market, we found it to be located in a narrow alley. So instead of getting stuck again, we rightfully decided to drive to the Bikaner Junction and park the car there and do rest of the exploration on foot.
This helped us reduce some of the frustration and we got to see the beautiful Bikaner Junction.
After walking for a bit, we managed to reach Bhikharam Chandmal Bhujiawala, a shop started by the grandsons of the man who invented bhujia 125 years ago, Tansukhdas.
Here we tried out the paneer pakoda and the delicious Gond Pak. We also bought a couple of packets of Bhujia, which turned out to be great. You can read my full review of it here, Bhikharam Chandmal Bhujiawala, Bikaner, Review
Even though we had been successful in locating Bhikharam Chandmal, we couldn’t locate Suraj Restaurant, Bhuwan sir had recommended and thus decided to instead eat at the largest restaurant we had come across, Amberwalla.
It was a big mistake since, from service to food, everything was bad.
And that was another low point for the day and made us feel even worse (you can read the review here, Hotel Amberwalla, Bikaner, Restaurant Review
). At this moment we just wanted to head back to the hotel and get some sleep.
Tomorrow was another day, and we hoped it would be better than today.
Tolls paid during the day:
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